Marshall Center Honors ‘First Americans’
By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Nov. 20, 2015) – “Mitakuye Oyasin,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class (Ret.) Johnny Scott beginning his presentation at the National American Indian Heritage Month event held here Nov. 20 at the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria – Garmisch Community Chapel on Sheridan Kaserne.
“It means ‘all are related,’” said Scott, who works at the USAG Bavaria – Garmisch Community Post Office and who is affiliated with the Picuris Tribe of the Northern Pueblos of New Mexico.
Scott was the guest speaker at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies Equal Opportunity Diversity Observances Committee’s “Growing Native Leaders: Enhancing our seven Generations” event, commemorating the heritage and vibrant cultures of the first Americans.
“I’m from the seventh generation, and we are moving forward onto the next seven generations,” said Scott, who deployed with the 1-16 Infantry to Iraq in September 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “I do not have a chip on my shoulder for what has gone in the past: I only have love in my heart for the future.”
As master of ceremony, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Carrie Fox, from the Marshall Center’s Visual Information Directorate, cited the facts that although the nation’s population of American Indians and Alaska Natives only make up about two percent of the total population, they have the highest population per capita of any ethnic group serving in the military.
“As of March 2012, there were 156,515 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans on record,” said Fox, who is affiliated with the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. “Today, 22,248 American Indians serve in the armed forces, accounting for 1.7 percent of the military population and one percent of the U.S. Department of Defense federal workforce.
She added that American Indians have participated with distinction in U.S. military actions for more than 200 years.
“This equal opportunity observance, along with many others, are important reflections and celebrations of our past, and a part of who we are as a society,” said U.S. Army Maj. Nathan Saul, Marshall Center secretary of the joint staff. “I’m not an expert on Native American Indian heritage, but I do try to be more aware of their influence and history. I notice the rock art at Hueco Tanks in New Mexico, or features and relics in Pinyon Canyon in Colorado, and just little things that tell us about who they are and who they were.”
The event also showcased American Indian food samplings of stew and fry bread. Fox made the fry bread, and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Travis Sabinash, from the USAG Bavaria – Garmisch Community Provost Marshal Office, made the stew.
Native American Heritage Month first began with the establishment of American Indian Day by the Governor of New York in May 1916. Later, several additional states enacted celebrations during the fourth Friday in September, but the celebration did not gain official National recognition until President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating November 1990 as National American Indian Heritage Month.
Scott ended the event by singing an Indian song, telling the story of “I had a girlfriend who lived across the river. So, I built a raft to visit her, but unfortunately, she was on the other side visiting me.”